Differential effects of relaxin deficiency on vascular aging in arteries of male mice Academic Article uri icon


  • Exogenous treatment with the naturally occurring peptide relaxin increases arterial compliance and reduces vascular stiffness. In contrast, relaxin deficiency reduces the passive compliance of small renal arteries through geometric and compositional vascular remodeling. The role of endogenous relaxin on passive mechanical wall properties in other vascular beds is unknown. Importantly, no studies have investigated the effects of aging in arteries of relaxin-deficient mice. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that mesenteric and femoral arteries stiffen with aging, and this is exacerbated with relaxin deficiency. Male wild-type (Rln (+/+)) and relaxin knockout (Rln (-/-)) mice were aged to 3, 6, 12, 18, and 23 months. Passive mechanical wall properties were assessed by pressure myography. In both genotypes, there was a significant increase in circumferential stiffening in mesenteric arteries with aging, whereas in the femoral artery, aging reduced volume compliance. This was associated with a reduced ability of the artery to lengthen with aging. The predominant phenotype observed in Rln (-/-) mice was reduced volume compliance in young mice in both mesenteric and femoral arteries. In summary, aging induces circumferential stiffening in mesenteric arteries and axial stiffening in femoral arteries. Passive mechanical wall properties of Rln (-/-) mouse arteries predominantly differ at younger ages compared with Rln (+/+) mice, suggesting that a lack of endogenous relaxin only has a minor effect on vascular aging.

publication date

  • 2015

published in

  • Age  Journal